|Architectural style||Modern architecture|
|Town or city||65–67 Queen's Gate, Kensington, London|
|Completed||12 July 1961|
|Design and construction|
|Client||The Scout Association|
|Structural engineer||Harry Neal Ltd|
Baden-Powell House, colloquially known as B-P House, is a Scouting hostel and conference centre in South Kensington, London, which was built as a tribute to Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting. The house, owned by The Scout Association, hosts a small exhibition relating to Scouting in its current form and a granite statue by Don Potter.
The building committee, chaired by Sir Harold Gillett, Lord Mayor of London, purchased the site in 1956, and assigned Ralph Tubbs to design the house in the modern architectural style. The Foundation Stone was laid in 1959 by World Chief Guide Olave, Lady Baden-Powell, and it was opened in 1961 by Queen Elizabeth II. The largest part of the £400,000 cost was provided by the Scout Movement itself. Over the years, the house has been refurbished several times, so that it now provides modern and affordable lodging for Scouts, Guides, their families and the general public staying in London. The building also hosts conference and event space for hire.
|From address by HM the Queen|
|Baden-Powell himself has gone, but his Movement remains and grows—a memorial more enduring than stone or steel. It is, however, fitting that, here in England, where he started it, there should be a house, bearing his name and serving the needs of the Movement, which can express our gratitude to him in a practical way.|
Acting on a 1942 initiative by Chief Scout Lord Somers, a formal Baden-Powell House Committee was established by The Scout Association in 1953 under the direction of Sir Harold Gillett, later Lord Mayor of London. The committee's directive was to build a hostel to provide Scouts a place to stay at reasonable cost while visiting London. For this purpose, in 1956 the committee purchased a bombed-out property at the intersection of Cromwell Road and Queen's Gate at a cost of £39,000.
The Scout Movement raised the major part of the funding of £400,000 for building and furnishing the building between 1957 and 1959. Money was raised through public appeals supported by publication in Scout Movement magazines, a collection of donations in 15,000 brick-shaped boxes, and 5,000 appeal letters signed personally by then Chief Scout Lord Rowallan.
In a celebration on 17 October 1959 the Foundation Stone was laid by the World Chief Guide Olave, Lady Baden-Powell, with Lord Mayor Sir Harold Gillett, the new Chief Scout Sir Charles Maclean, and 400 other guests in attendance. A casket was buried under the foundation stone which held 1959 Scout mementoes, stamps, coins, photographs, etc., and a programme of the Foundation Stone Laying Ceremony.
With 142 Queen's Scouts as Guard of Honour, and live broadcast by the BBC (commentator Richard Dimbleby), Baden-Powell House was opened on 12 July 1961 by Queen Elizabeth II. Afterwards, the Queen toured the house with the Chief Scout and the president of The Scout Association, her uncle Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester. A black marble panel with gold lettering was put on the balcony in the hall to commemorate the event.
The house was designed by the architect Ralph Tubbs in 1956, whose works included the Dome of Discovery, the highlight of the 1951 Festival of Britain. Tubbs' floor plans and a model of his design were displayed during a fundraising campaign and exhibition on 21 February 1957 in the Egyptian Hall of the Mansion House.
The six storied Baden-Powell House is designed in the modern architectural style, as pioneered by the Swiss architect Le Corbusier from the late 1920s onwards, and predominating in the 1950s. At Baden-Powell House, Tubbs made the first floor overhang the ground floor, a Le Corbusier architectural design choice to free the building from the ground, such as seen in his Pavillon Suisse at the Cité Internationale Universitaire in Paris. Additionally, Le Corbusier's Sainte Marie de La Tourette priory in Lyon shows two floors of monk's cells with small windows, cantilevered over the more open floors below, another design choice used by Tubbs in the facade of Baden-Powell House. While Tubbs created Baden-Powell House in the modern architectural style of Le Corbusier, he used more architectural restraint in his own design choices. For example, he made the main visible building component brick rather than concrete. This heavier evolution of Le Corbusier's style was popular in England throughout the post-war years until replaced by the Brutalist style in the later 1960s.
Baden-Powell House was built to Tubbs' design by Harry Neal Ltd, for which they received the 1961 Gold Medal of the Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers. At the opening, the house received the building design award for 'The building of most merit in London.'
Thirty-five years after its opening, Baden-Powell House was refurbished in a six-month £2 million programme, providing all modern amenities such as private facilities for all rooms, double glazing, and air conditioning, as well as enhancing conference facilities for large and small events. Upon completion of the programme, the house was opened by the president of The Scout Association, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent on 5 June 1997. In 2002 a Starbucks coffee and sandwich bar was opened, as well as an outdoor roof garden adjacent to the meeting conference rooms on the second floor.
Although it has since been replaced with a number of smaller displays available to the public in the reception area showing some traditional Scouting skills, a notable collection of Baden-Powell memorabilia has been on display in the past for visitors in 'The story of B-P' exhibition. This included many drawings and letters by Baden-Powell himself, such as the original of his Last Message to Scouts, Laws for me when I am old and several first editions of his books. The former exhibition also displayed the original painting by David Jagger, as presented to Baden-Powell on 29 August 1929 at the 'Coming of Age' 3rd World Scout Jamboree. This painting, a personal favourite of Baden-Powell, is often used in publications throughout the Scout movement. A facsimile of the famous painting is on display in the Geneva headquarters building of the World Organization of the Scout Movement. The Baden-Powell memorabilia has since been moved to the headquarters for Scouting in the UK, Gilwell Park.
The exhibition was augmented in 1971 by a bust of Baden-Powell, unveiled by Olave, Lady Baden-Powell. On the exhibition's 25th anniversary in 1986, the Duke of Kent re-opened the exhibition in a new setting. This bust has since been moved to Gilwell Park along with other artifacts from Scouting's history.
As an introductory part of the collection, a nearly 3 meter high statue of Baden-Powell has been erected in front of Baden-Powell House, the only granite statue in London. The sculptor was Baden-Powell's personal friend Don Potter. It was unveiled on 12 July 1961 by the Duke of Gloucester, as part of the official opening of the house.
In the 21st century
|Souvenir badges of
With special Scout atmosphere, Baden-Powell House provides a hostel and conference centre for people visiting London. Although the building is still owned by The Scout Association, this is run by separate German company Meininger Hotels. However, as part of the arrangement with this company Scout members from the UK and abroad are able to stay at Baden-Powell House at a reduced rate. Baden-Powell House is also run as a conference and event space and is available to hire by companies and private individuals for meetings, training and events. Any income generated from Baden-Powell House is put back into Scouting, benefitting young people across the UK and beyond.
Located in the middle of London's visitor area, known as Exhibition Road, it is in short walking distance of the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Royal Albert Hall and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The full address is 65–67 Queen's Gate, London SW7 5JS, reachable by public transportation through South Kensington tube station and Gloucester Road tube station. In the period 2004–2006 the hostel participated in the Youth Hostel Association, after which the Scout Association entered into an agreement with Meininger City Hostels. Baden-Powell House is rated Four Star by the Visit Britain Quality Assurance, and Mobility Level 1; also recent visitors rate it on average 4 out of 5.
The hostel and conference centre is entered through a wide glazed atrium which serves as a large foyer containing the cafe and some Scouting displays. From the atrium the large hall is reached which can serve as an auditorium with seating for up to 300 people. The first floor has a restaurant seating 100 guests; the second floor has meeting rooms, and conference facilities for groups up to 80 delegates per room. The upper floors contain 180 hostel bedrooms. Baden-Powell House was designed specifically for members of the Scout Movement. Nonetheless, it has always been fully open to family members of Scouts at reduced prices and to the general public at competitive commercial rates. In an average year, 30 thousand people spend the night, and 100 thousand meals are served in the restaurant. A selection of souvenir badges and other Baden-Powell House merchandise can be purchased from the reception desk.
From 1974 to 2001, Baden-Powell House was the headquarters of The Scout Association, for which a dedicated extension to the house was completed in 1976. In April 2001, the headquarters formally moved to new accommodation at Gilwell Park. As the owner of Baden-Powell House, The Scout Association receives a net income out of the revenues of approximately £1.5 million.
Baden-Powell House is one of two conference centres owned by The Scout Association, along with its sister venue (and headquarters) Gilwell Park in Chingford.
- Baden-Powell International House, 25-story hotel of The Scout Association of Hong Kong in Kowloon, Hong Kong
- Ellsworth Augustus Scout House, the Boy Scouts of America hostel, in Mendham, NJ, United States
- Exhibition Road, Kensington, London
- International Scouting Collectors Association
- Jamboree on the Air, call sign for Baden-Powell House is GB3BPH
- Kandersteg International Scout Centre
- Scout method
- Wood, Edward (April 1971). The story of B.-P.'s House. London: The Scout Association. ISBN 0-85165-016-3 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK].
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- Baden-Powell House International Centre re-opened by HRH The Duke of Kent
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- "Visitor rating for Baden-Powell House". Virtual Tourist. Archived from the original on 18 August 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-14.
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- Official website of the Baden-Powell House conference centre
- Location of Baden-Powell House on Streetmap
- Visit London City Guide, details on Baden-Powell House